I'm not going to say that it was pretty, but at 11.50 last night, I was satisfied that all of the paperwork was finalised, and could drain the wine glass on my desk in the knowledge that the application pack was ready to go.
There is an awful lot of paperwork for prospective applicants to read, and only two weeks to complete the application form and submit it to our Returning Officer, Mike Thornton. And, in spite of my concerns about the shortness of the application window, I am already hearing rumours of potential contenders, which bodes well.
This is, for applicants, quite a difficult exercise. In a relatively short period, a candidate needs to develop a campaigning strategy, build a team of supporters, and organise their time so as to maximise their opportunities to reach thousands of members across six counties in a Region that stretches from Cromer to Tring, and from Peterborough to Southend. Attending local events involves covering many miles, with no guarantee of success. The reward is, for most of those on the list, a position which offers no likelihood of final success, merely the satisfaction of a job well done and, perhaps, some wider exposure which might be cashed in later as other opportunities arise.
Of course, as we've discovered in this Parliament, the incumbent might stand down part way through their term, creating an opportunity for a runner-up...
Finally, a good showing might put an applicant in a better position for the next selection, establishing credibility and contacts for the next time. It is a strategy that has worked for at least three current members of the European Parliament, and it could be you (yes, you!) next time. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
So, the shortlisting committees can take a well earned breather, whilst the Returning Officers issue application packs and await completed application forms.
The contest starts here...